tv [untitled] May 4, 2012 11:00am-11:30am EDT
this historically was a very disfupgs nal body, used to be called the u.n.'s commission on human rights. it was known for paralysis in the face of human rights crises, polarization between western delegations and delegations from the global south, one-sided focus on certain situations, particularly israel to the exclusion of many others. and we've seen substantial progress in that form over the last few years. that form has been very active in responding to the arab spring, has issued a whole series of resolutions on syria, building greater and greater consensus with each one, has taken on iran, has passed the u.n.'s first-ever resolution on the rights of lgbt persons. so a lot of progress in that forum. but of course powers are less than the security council. they cannot authorize the use of force so there are limitations
there as well. >> thank you. let's shift the conversation slightly on a subject that i'm sure is at the heart of a lot of people sitting in this room, international ngos. we've heard a lot this week about how the ground is shifting, things are changing. there's a lot of focus on partnership, a lot of conversations on country ownership. there's a lot in our mind, i think we could say, collectively here. what role do you think these multilateral institutions can play with international ngos? let me start with the minister, because i know you've got some time pressure. >> sure. sure. i mean, i think for the imf, the international ngos have been increasingly important partners for us in many ways. o one, in terms of being people we
consult with on many of our policy issues. we've got some current policy issues, say, on how countries manage natural resources well or or debt ceilings or how do you tax the financial sector are ones where we're having conversations with international ngos so to get their views so we can incorporate that into our own policymaking. the other important area is part of what the imf does when we work with countries is help them imfroouch transparency of their own policymaking particularly around budgets and fiscal transparency, and there the partnership is a little more indirect, but part of our object sieve to increase the scope of genuine public debate about fiscal policy and budgets. and the third area we've been doing more work on recently relating to the earlier question on jobs is work with trade un n unions. and we now have as a sort of normal part of our business, in fact, about 80% of imf missions
who go to countries now consul with trade unions in that country about labor policies and the impact of the macroeconomic policies we're discussing on jobs and the job market. and i think that's been a very productive, sometimes contentious but very important set of relationships. >> let me get -- jeff, you want to -- >> yeah. i think, you know, having worked in the world bank for many years and then having observed both the bank and the fund as well as been involved with the african development bank, i think that there have been huge strides in recent years in the seriousness with which these institutions have incorporated that dialogue. it's not perfect, and as many say, it's sometimes contentious. but i think there have been great -- there has been great progress. i want to turn the question a little bit on one side because i think that the international
civil society movement has been i would say extraordinarily successful in its engagement. it's had big wins, sometimes against quite a lot of resistance on things like debt or some of the climate things or some of the other aspects that he was talking about. but i wonder if there's an important challenge coming for the people in this room. >> yes. >> let me put it in the following way. at this point international civil society as sort of structured by great groups like interaction and its component, have got a pretty secure and privileged seat at that table. >> mm-hmm. >> at the same time, these institutions, at least from the point of view of supporting the poorest developing countries -- >> mm-hmm. >> -- i think are threatened with being hollowed out by what
ken rogoff and carl rhinehart call the great contraction over the next five to ten years. that is that there will be fiscal contraction in the advanced countries, there will be a pulling back from international engagements, particularly concessionan ones, and to the extent that aid bum ets are maintained and defended, including by civil society partners, they are increasingly bilateral in character. and the challenge that i just want to put to this room is that i think that sometimes civil society organizations have slightly mixed interests in this, because the bilateral agencies are actually quite an important source of funding for civil society. but in my view, a switch to bilaterally oriented aid programs is a retrograde stem
from the point of view of development effectiveness, and i wonder how civil society groups are going to work out that tension if i'm right and saying there will be more of these pressures over time. that's a challenge. >> would you like to say something? >> i would like to pick up on that. in addition to the sort of revenue stream question and also whether it should be bilateral versus multilateral, i think there is a quandary that many members of this community may face which is that this is a largely western dominated community. global civil society representation tends to be overwhelmingly from the advanced economic countries. and so it raises a question of how one's going to democratize development, whether one is going to democratize development ingos. i think the world is changing and obviously development, as bob zoellick pointed out, is
going to require huge public/private partnerships and increasing involvement of private sector actors including corporations as well as nongovernmental organizations. and i think that the notion of coordination is i think increasingly a mirage. i think we're going to have to adapt to this network world in which we move away from simple hierarchy and get much more comfortable with some fluid networks even though there's going to be redundancy often. i think the big challenge from the perspective of global governance is how you actually match up the top-down aspirations that are often set by multilateral frameworks or institutions with the sort of bottom-up efforts of these groups. i think that is a challenge that increasingly is going to go -- cut across a huge number of challenges. >> did you want to comment on that? >> yeah, just a couple of thoughts. i mean, i think in some ways -- you know, i agree with the observati observati observations. there are a couple of developments that i see in the
human rights arena in response. one is at the human rights council in geneva to create a consortium of human rights organizations including from the global south and to speak many the name of that consortium, recognizing exactly what you're saying, talking on behalf of an amnesty or a human rights watch is not as effective as talking on behalf of an umbrella group that can say it has african, asian, south american, ngo voices as part of that. so there's a recognition of that and a real effort to build. even within some of the mainstream groups including amnesty, you know, we recognize we have to change, so our focus now is an effort that we're undertaking under the rubric of closer to the ground, which is really about taking amnesty's traditional strength in western europe, canada, the united states, australia, and investing resources that we build there to develop the movement in the global south. so india, kenya, nigeria, brazil. you know, it's not an immediate
process, but there is at least a recognition that that is necessary, that that's the future of the human rights movement. you know, one trend -- i know what you're saying is very much the case in the humanitarian arena having had the humanitarian portfolio in the bureau of international organizations. at the state department, it was very striking to me just to, you know, see this incredibly symbiotic relationship between the aid community and the u.s. government, you know, as real partners and critical partnerships in so many parts of the world but that the multilateral conversation and the role of the u.n., you know, was really a sidebar in many ways, and we worked to try to make it more central and to focus more on what we needed to do to strengthen the multilateral dimension. but that was not the centerpiece of the conversation. it's a little bit different in the human rights area because some of the traditional channels of bilateral pressure, you know, are lessening because aid donation is contracting because
there's less receptive ti and more i would say kind of backlash towards or the overweaning, you know, western condemnations and dictates and more of an emphasis on messages that are global. so if you want to make an impression on tech ron or sri lanka, you could do so often much more effectively through the u.n. or through any bilateral channel. >> i know you wanted to comment more on that. >> i think the trend you identify in the human rights ngos is the same for all ngos, that everybody -- you know, just like the international financial institutions have to have more representative governments, so, too, the international ngos feel the need to be more representative. in my previous life i ran the international development in the uk and used to often joke with the international ngos who we worked closely with. they looked like multinational
corporations, ironic give wherein the community often started. but they had corporate sentences. they had global networks. they had representative offices and subsidiaries around the world. and they were no longer local organizations. they were really operating -- and they saw that as part of their legitimacy si. that was one point. the changing landscape, it's not surprising with europe in crisis and europe delivers 60% of global aid, budge e rgs under pressure, and we've seen that tangibly in the latest numbers. but what's interesting also is who has the fastest growing aid budgets. that is -- you look at it, turkey had the fastest growing aid budget last year. in terms of numbers, korea was a big player. and those countries are growing their aid budgets in a very bilateral way. and the question is will they actually become true global players, more oriented toward
making the multilateral system work or not, and what's the role of the international ngo community in bringing them to that global agenda. and my last point would be on taking off to where the international ngos have been incredibly successful. from where i sit, the biggest successes were debt relief, the mdgs and 0.7. those were big, global campaigns that, you know, sitting in the u.s. i know 0.7 doesn't feel successful. having from the uk where a government has stuck to the commitment in the midst of the greatest recession of the century -- >> a conservative government. >> -- and a conservative government, it's been pretty successful. so i think it's picking those big, global crosscutting issues and campaigning collectively. when the international ngo community does that, it's very powerful. >> before we open it up to the audience here, i wanted to get
your thoughts on this whole notion of country ownership, because it is a term that is used quite a bit here. and i think it might mean different things to different folks, and i think for a lot of us implementing organization there is also a message that comes with it that maybe you've become less relevant. i think somebody alluded a little bit to that. any thoughts, general thoughts, on that? >> so, one, i mean, one obvious point is that the center of gravity in development policymaking, in execution, in resources is moving away from where we traditionally had thought of it. >> yes. >> which is in the north and in the advanced economies. as bob said, you know, two-thirds of global growth comes from developing countries over the last decade or so. we have the -- you know, we have
as a stylized fact, if we're lucky we have 2% average rate of growth, you know, in the north over the next couple of years and 7% or 8% in the global south. so the dynamic is shifting and with it the self-confidence of governments. now, that's a kind of double-edged things for ngos and civil societies sometimes because sometimes that's an assertiveness of governmental power by countries -- by developing country developments that maybe doesn't provide a great deal of space for civil society voices, and that's another -- another whole dimension of it. but i think what we've all got to adapt to collectively, something we now in the foundation think about a lot, is how do we engage with those new sets of factors with the koreas and turkeys as well as with, you know, african countries that are now wondering about how to avoid
dutch disease and corruption out of mineral rights that are going to be flowing soon. >> right. >> so i think that model is really going to change a lot over the next ten years, partly because of the negative thing of the squeeze in the north, which i think is going to tighten, and then the positive thing of growth and possibility and expansion in the south, which will also have its challenges. >> i would say on country ownership, two things. first, it seems as if -- obviously this has been something that has been in paris and abroad and -- >> that's right. >> -- and in seoul, increased reliance on making sure that that sort of -- or increase emphasis on that sort of language that has so often been given lip service is actually -- >> exactly. >> -- practice in actual engagement this with these countries. and also, it even appears in the new deal for fragile states,
which i think is a very important initiative, which has elements of almost a compact between the community on the one hand and the aid partner s part. that being said, the ownership is -- many of these countries are fragile because at least in some cases they're ruled by authoritarian governments, klepto kr kleptocrats who are in the business of enriching themselves, and therefore i think in those cases it's particularly incumbent on the international donors and also international nongovernmental organizations to try to identify those centers or parts of excellence or at least of integrity within those countries
that they can actually work with. in some cases it may mean bypassing aspects of the state all together, but it's a very tough nut to crack. >> it is, isn't it. it is. >> i just want to echo that and say i think there's a distinction between the country ownership and state ownership. >> exactly. >> that distinction is critical. >> i think that's where we see the challenge is we're not talking government, you're talking civil society at large, including government. let me open this up to the audience here. we'll do the same thing. i think there are microphones, so raise your hand and a microphone will find you. we have sam and i see lindsey.
>> is since no hands are jumping up, i figured i couldn't resist. we have a globalized economy. to what extent are we, both in terms of fiscal policy, our development policy actually engaging in the type of multilateral world that many of us would like to see. so we often focus on developing world as here's a skill set from the north to the global south. but i think the less sons of greece and spain and toward this fiscal situation in this country, to what extent is there potentially contagion from the north that might be a problem both to grow prosperity but also
to multilateralists. >> who wants to take that? okay. >> there are several things that spring to mind. one of them is trade policy. you know, the fact is after the indian ocean tsunami, the united states provides something in the neighborhood of at least initially, something in the neighborhood of $800 million, $900 million to the affected countries. in the same time through its textile policy it's taking away in a sense $1.8 billion in what could have been profits from textile industries in those countries. so i think the lack of trade policy and lack of opening, you know, cotton in mali, another very good example, a big one, lack of sort of liberalization of tech transfer policies. obviously, people are worried about intellectual property issues, but that's one. the fact that we are -- that the wealthy north remains hugely the market for vast quantities of
illicit capital flows and illicit substances, you know, money laundering itself being thought of, being perhaps 5%, at least of the global economy, narcotics trade, et cetera, to the degree that there are prohibition regimes that we have imposed and we are enforcing, we create incredibly absurd perverse incentives within many countries of developing world to provide us with illicit commodities that then in a sense drive out illicit economic activity in those countries. massive flows of hot money to these countries. i see now that the imf is no longer afraid of saying perhaps people should be able to have some capital controls at times. so anyway, just a number of things that -- i worked a lot on fragile states, failing states, but it soon became apparent that, you know, a lot of the
reasons explaining the lack of successful development outcomes was simply that these countries were embedded in a much larger socioeconomic system or economic system that was not necessarily doing them justice. >> manush? >> one of the things we do in the imf every year is twice a year we look at where the big vulnerables are from the economy. at the moment we've identified three. one is slow growth in the advanced economies, and if the u.s. and europe aren't growing they're not buying goods from poor countries and that's a vulnerability. the second is commodity prices. at the moment commodity prices are pretty high, and many developing countries, particularly in africa and latin america, are benefiting from those high commodity prices. but if there's a slowdown in asia, that's a big vulnerability. it's always been a vulnerability for poor countries. and i guess the third one, relatively recent and more linked to the zone crisis, is what's happening with banks as
many banks are in trouble. they are increasingly reverting to home markets. so european banks who are big players in financing global trade more so than u.s. banks, are becoming more nationally focused. and there is some risk and a little bit of evidence -- i mean, i heard one say recently there is some evidence that trade finance for low-income countries in africa is tightening, that they can't finance their trade needs as much as they could and that reflects the problems that those european banks are feeling in their home markets. >> i agree, and now they've characterized it. i just make two personal and oversimplified comments. one, it is evidently the case that the global crisis was not in any material way caused by economic mismanagement by developing countries.
so -- [ laughter ] that is something we should always remind ourselves of when we think about the consequences. and then the second obstruction of justicer vags is, as we look forward, in addition to the fact that was just put, i think we should all be nervous about collective contraction on the part of advanced countries in the name of fiscal consolidation and debt reduction that has the quite obvious case and consequence of slowing down -- of contracting markets and slowing down growth and inhibiting not only the recovery in advance countries but has sizable negative impact on developing countries which have actually not done too badly all things considered. so i think that's not something that's the sweet spot of
international ngos, but i think it's part of the framework that we were working. >> i think there's an african expression -- when two elephants fight, only the ants get trampled. >> that's -- that's great. >> kind of the problem. >> did you want to -- >> just briefly, a different dimension of, you know, how the big plans can be the problem. i think another piece of it is just the ambivalence of multilateralism and what remains, even as power relations shift so dramatically, there still remains an almost indispensability to having the united states at the table and the other major powers. and, you know, on the other side an ambivalence very often about being part of international instruments and forums. and, you know, obviously that waxes and wanes and different political parties and figures take different approaches. and we've had one approach, you know, a lot of heavy engagement over the last few years. that could change. so i think that's just another
dimension to keep in mind. >> lindsey, i know that you raised your hand earlier. >> don't want to free up -- in listening, i was inspired actually by geoff's remarks. i was actually inspired by some of geoff's comments about secure seat at the table and thinking about a panel i sat on at the world bank spring meetings organized by the u.n. millennium campaign. and so this was civil society, talking about how it was going to influence the mgds. and we had a representative from a south-based organization talking about, you know, a global campaign that was going to go to every village and they were going to influence, you know, everything of the u.n.
process. and we had a european who was very right spaced in terms of what the mgds ought to look like. i was the crabby american who said, well, we can't talk about this till after our election. and i'm just curious as to -- i see just a huge energy and a huge expectation, particularly around the lending development goals, but i don't perceive these institutions as having the capacity to deal with that multilayered energy, both the people that they're used to who play nicely inside and the people who don't. and you doing that as a sellout. so is there any adaptability at all to deal with the richness and complexity of what is coming at these institutions? >> well, manoosh is going to take care of it. >> just a small player in this greater, wider world.
i think we've adapted a lot. and, i mean, i think you're right, i presume you're implying in terms of the campaign that's coming up as opposed to the mgd framework. right? that's what you're -- >> yes. >> i think from, you know, recalling what happened last time the world tried to do this, it was a multiyear process and there were many voices and many fora at which this consensus was forged. and i suspect it's going to be the same this time. and i think certainly from where the imf sits, you know, we've -- you know, we've come so far in terms of our own views on transparency and consultation. and, you know, i can still remember when i was a graduate student trying to get data from the imf and every document was secret and, you know, now they're all up on the web and all our data is on the web and all these consultations are on the web. so i think we've come quite a long way in terms of having the
tools to absorb this. i think what will be different is there will be a lot more players. i think the last time the world did this 15 years ago or so, in the end, actually, you could probably get most of the players into this room. and i think going forward, given what's happened with technology and the fact that everyone can participate via the web, we're going to need more kind of intermediaries and sifters and people who kind of sort of aggregators who then enable us to absorb it, because i think you're right that it's a much bigger game now and, you know, i don't think the imf could cope with answering a billion e-mails. but if we had a process by which those were aggregated into a set of coherent views, then i think it would be easier for us. that's what we need to be thinking about is who are those intermediaries and how do we interact with them? >> so i'm hearing from you it's
possible but we're not totally there yet and we'll have to change the way we -- we -- we relate. so we do have -- >> just a couple of reflections. one of the big issues coming out of this that's going to be discussed at the rio plus 20 summit is this idea of sustainable development goals. a lot of governments somewhat lukewarm about that, particularly as to whether or not they should be binding at all. but the reorganizers have slit sited quite a bit of input from a variety of ngos and i think 677 submissions already about different aspects of what they should be doing at the conference and what the priorities should be. with respect to the sdgs, i guess, the sustainable development goals, a lot of questions as to whether or not -- and it will affect this community quite a bit --